Museum to host Day of the Dead exhibit

Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Museum

A local museum is presenting an exhibition on the Day of the Dead this fall. 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) will host a new exhibition from the Field Museum in Chicago, “A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead in Southern Mexico,” opening Sept. 3. 

The exhibition, which will stay at the museum through Nov. 27, explores the history and significance of Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, in Oaxaca, a southern region of Mexico. 

“A Celebration of Souls” displays 26 photographs of Oaxacan villagers during the Day of the Dead, preparing offerings and altars in memory of the dead, scattering trails of marigolds to guide the dead home, and offering chocolate and pan de muerto (bread of the dead) at community gatherings. 

As part of the exhibition, the GRPM is working with community partners to add ofrendas (offerings) to the exhibition display. Local professor and artist Margaret Vega will partner with GRPM for one such display, honoring her late father, Francisco Vega, a leader in the Latino community of West Michigan and a grassroots organizer for civil rights. Vega’s ofrenda will be on display for the entire run of this exhibit. 

The GRPM also is collaborating with the Latino Community Coalition’s Nuestra HERencia project to create an ofrenda for this exhibit. Nuestra HERencia honors the legacies of Latina women in Grand Rapids. 

“A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead in Southern Mexico” was developed by The Field Museum in collaboration with Mars, Inc. Its Grand Rapids appearance is sponsored by the David & Carol Van Andel Family Foundation, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and Meijer. 

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